The 9 Best Lightweight Laptops of 2019

Ultrabooks fulfill all of your computing needs without the added bulk and weight

The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide
The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide
Introduction

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Most Popular: ASUS Chromebook Flip C302

4.7

When it comes to budget-friendly laptops, HD resolution is often the first thing to be eliminated. Not so with the ASUS Chromebook Flip. You can still enjoy all your favorite videos in picture-perfect 1080p on the 12.5-inch anti-glare screen. This Chromebook is a definitely lightweight at only 2.65 pounds and can easily transform from a laptop into a tablet with its flexible 360-degree hinge. The interface and controls are very user-friendly — the touch screen is very responsive, the touchpad is appealingly oversized, and the backlit keyboard provides 1.4mm of key travel for comfortable typing.

The Chromebook Flip C302 contains an Intel Pentium 4405Y processor with 64GB storage and 4GB of RAM to provide fast and reliable performance (even on a budget). You also receive 100GB of additional storage on Google Drive. Despite its slim design, this laptop also provides an adequate amount of port space: USB 3.1 and Type-C ports, a micro SD slot, and a standard audio jack. The battery life lasts about 10 hours per charge. While some may find that 4GB of storage to be a bit on the small side, the Chromebook is a reliable laptop that won’t break the bank.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best laptops under $500

Best Overall: Microsoft Surface Laptop 2

4.6

The Microsoft Surface 2 features a lovely, sleek design that easily rivals the MacBook Air. Like its Surface predecessor, its dimensions are 12.13 x 8.79 x 0.96 inches and it weighs 2.76 pounds. The 13.5-inch display also features full HD resolution with 201 pixels-per-inch, delivering crisp, vivid colors and deep shadows. The Surface 2 comes in four fashionable tone-on-tone color combinations: black, platinum, cobalt blue, and burgundy.

For the Surface 2, Microsoft boasts faster processing speeds than its predecessor. Also, one of the laptops main draws is the option to customize your own specs. In its most baseline configuration, it offers an 8th-generation Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB solid-state storage. Microsoft also includes descriptions for each of these specs to help buyers determine which combination best fits their needs.

We’ve really only found two downsides with the Surface 2. The first is the battery life: while Microsoft promises 14.5 hours of use on a single charge, many users report that the laptop tends to last for closer to 5.5 hours with a normal level of use. The second issue is the outdated ports: The Surface 2 has a Type-A USB input but doesn’t include a standard 3.1 USB port. If you’re planning to use this laptop more like a mobile workstation, then this probably isn’t a huge problem, but it is strange to see such an outdated spec on an otherwise top-quality product.

Best 2-in-1: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

An excellent combination of portability and power, the refreshed Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is a surefire hit for those wanting both laptop and tablet capabilities. At 2.9 pounds, this slim and versatile hybrid is both practical and high performing. With its sturdy but flexible hinge, thermal cooling system, and slim bezel InfinityEdge panel, Dell’s latest 2-in-1 is great for both work and play.

The XPS 13 2-in-1 offers a stunning 13.4-inch touchscreen display with a 1920x1200 resolution and 16:10 aspect ratio. Among its four configurations, the starting model is fitted with a 10th-generation Intel Core i3 processor with 4GB of RAM and a 256GB NVMe SSD. The i5 configuration boasts more power while doubling the RAM. 

For power users leveraging their laptops for intensive work and a side of gaming, Dell has two Core i7 variants, each with 16GB of RAM and a better onboard GPU. If you want an even more beautiful picture, you can opt for the Core i7 with an Ultra HD display and 512GB of storage as well. 

The XPS 13 2-in-1 is certainly pricey, especially if you go with an i7, but you’re getting a sublime 2-in-1 with the latest Intel processors and a gorgeous, lightweight design.

Best for Multitaskers: LG Gram 17

4.2

The LG Gram 17 is designed to be the laptop for those on-the-go, whether that’s running between meetings or finishing work while in the great outdoors. Along with a 72Wh lithium battery built to last up to 19.5 hours, the laptop has also passed seven tests of the U.S. military standard to prove its ability to handle nearly any condition, from extreme temperatures to dust to impacts. The large 17-inch WQXGA (2560x1600) 16:1 IPS display results in stunning visuals, and the 8th Gen Intel Core Processor, 16GB RAM, and 512 GB SSD make it a powerhouse. That doesn’t mean the device is bulky; rather, it's built with a metal alloy consisting of nanocarbon and magnesium and weighs just 2.95 pounds. The laptop also prioritizes security and convenience with a fingerprint reader — no more entering a password to access your computer. 

Best Large Screen: LG gram 15Z970 15.6”

4.6

LG released a powerhouse of an ultrabook that is winning accolades for being one of the lightest and slimmest 15” screens. The specs are sure to impress, as the laptop tries to be the best gram for gram on the market. It weighs a featherweight 2.5 pounds, thanks to a sleek metal alloy body made from advanced nano carbon and magnesium for a durable, but ultra-lightweight case that is less than 0.7” thick. Meanwhile, the thin bezel doesn’t distract from the gorgeous IPS screen that gives more viewing area and exquisite style.

Besides the thin lightweight design and gorgeous 15.6” IPS screen, the laptop has a powerful 7th generation i5 Intel processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. The battery keeps going for over 15 hours of power, while DTS Headphone: X delivers expansive 11.1 channels of audio for a revelatory listening experience.

Best Design: Dell XPS 13

The Dell XPS 13 packs a 13.3” display in a laptop the size of a typical 11” notebook, which makes for a computer that’s both compact and lightweight. Whether you’re at work or playing, the 2.7-pound XPS 13 has more than enough horsepower to get you through the day.

Our model of choice includes an Intel Core i5 3.4 GHz processor, 8GB of RAM, 128GB SSD, up to 11 hours of battery life and Windows 10. That option is priced several hundred dollars cheaper than Apple’s MacBook Air. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a QHD+ display, but still offers the non-touch InfinityEdge border which remains stunning no matter your configuration. With a comfortable keyboard to type on, precise trackpad, huge range of configurations and a design that’s unrivaled, the Dell XPS 13 is fantastic.

Best Apple: MacBook Air (2019)

When Apple first debuted its MacBook Air over ten years ago, it was touted as the slimmest and lightest laptop computer on the market, and to be fair, the Mac maker had done something quite remarkable for a laptop of that era. In fact, it was so slim that Steve Jobs famously introduced it by pulling it out of a manilla envelope. However, a decade later, Apple’s MacBook Air is not only lightweight but it's now somewhat affordable, too.

Apple makes no compromises with the 2.75-pound MacBook Air, which features a one-piece “unibody” aluminum construction that means that it can handle a surprising amount of everyday abuse without getting more than a few scratches. Under the hood, a 1.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 CPU powers the MacBook Air, with turbo-boosting speeds of up to 3.6GHz and 8GB of RAM to start. Two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports can be found on the left side, for plugging in anything from a USB flash drive to an external monitor. It even supports external GPUs for those times when you need more graphics horsepower. 

But what’s most impressive is that it has almost the same quality screen as Apple’s higher-end MacBook Pro — a 2560x1600 (and 227 pixel-per-inch) Retina Display with the True Tone feature for unsurpassed color accuracy. It also manages to get 12 to 13 hours of runtime on a single charge and features Apple’s T2 security chip which offers full encryption and a Touch ID sensor for fingerprint authentication. 

Best for Durability: Asus ZenBook S

Equal parts rugged and portable, this 13.3-inch, all-metal laptop weighs barely over two pounds and, thanks to a 50Wh lithium-polymer battery, can last for 13.5 hours. At just 0.5-inches thick, the Asus Zenbook S contains either the i5-825OU or an i7-855OU CPU, along with a 3.5mm headphone jack and three USB-C ports. The ErgoLift hinge allows the keyboard to tilt by 5.5 inches for more comfortable typing and increased airflow beneath the chassis.

Multiple display options are available, including a 4K glossy touchscreen and an HD non-touchscreen, all of which are enclosed by barely-there 5.9mm-thick NanoEdge bezels. However, in a bid for lightness, the machine only packs Intel’s integrated UHD 620 graphics, though 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD options are available. The ZenBook S is not the cheapest option on the market, but was built to military specifications for durability and includes Amazon Alexa integration for voice control.

Best Value: Huawei MateBook X Pro

Huawei is central to a tech revolution right now: overseas brands taking the market by storm with no-frills devices that give you a ton of bang for your buck. Now, before you go arguing that this is a premium laptop due to the price tag, it’s important to note that it offers features that are nearly on-par with the MacBook Pro for well under the price. The MateBook X Pro, like a few other laptops, has fallen in the interim between the Intel i5 and i7, and while the latter will give you a performance bump, for price and value we recommend the i5. (The i5 is an 8th gen processor with plenty of power, and paired with 8GB of RAM and a solid-state 256 GB drive in this machine, the power and speed afforded you will be great.)

But the real calling card here is the nearly bezel-less, touchscreen FullView Display, featuring a super-crisp 3K resolution and a 91% screen-to-body ratio. There are quad speakers, quad microphones, and a pop-out 1MP webcam for high-quality video calls, plus an all-day battery to keep you going through the whole work day. And with the built-in Windows 10 Signature edition (that has been stripped of bloatware and optimized for the MateBook), you’ll get an impressively clean experience right out of the box.

Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 65 hours testing three top-rated lightweight laptops. To get the most comprehensive results, they configured them to their liking and experimented with their various capabilities, from sending emails to editing photos. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these lightweight laptops, from their battery life to their screen size and weight. We've outlined the key points here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Lightweight Laptop

Battery life - One of the best features of lightweight computers is that their batteries tend to last longer. If you’ll be using your laptop on a plane or in a coffee shop, you’ll want to check its expected battery life so you aren’t constantly in search of an outlet.

Screen size - If 13-inch laptops are too small for you, we have good news: It’s not hard to find a lightweight 15-inch laptop. You’re likely going to have to sacrifice a little bit of weight for a larger screen, but if this will be your primary device, it might be worth an extra pound or two.

Specs - Lightweight laptops save on weight by having lower specs than comparable heavier models. These machines are often perfect for emailing and browsing the Internet. However, if you’re planning on doing some heavy-duty video editing, it’s important to pay attention to features such as processing power and RAM to ensure that your machine will be capable of doing what you need it to do.

Test Results: ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 (Most Popular)

4.7
What We Like
  • Easy to use

  • Extremely portable

  • Responsive touchscreen

What We Don't Like
  • Unresponsive trackpad

ASUS Chromebook Flip C302
ASUS Chromebook Flip
ASUS Chromebook
ASUS Flip C302

“Overall, this is a really great machine at a wonderful price point,” raved one of our testers, who thought it was the ideal combination of a laptop and an Android tablet. Another plus, according to our reviewers, was its portability, ease of use, and responsive touchscreen. “As someone who's long been a skeptic of touchscreen laptops,” one tester said, “this has made me somewhat of a convert.” However, one of our reviewers described the laptop's trackpad as “truly frustrating and not responsive.”

Test Results: Microsoft Surface 2 (Best Overall)

4.6
What We Like
  • Attractive design

  • Intuitive to use

  • Long battery life

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

  • Low number of USB ports

  • Bottom of laptop gets warm with use

Microsoft Surface 2
Microsoft Surface 2 Keyboard
Microsoft Surface 2 Stylus
Microsoft Surface 2 Touchscreen
Microsoft Surface 2

This laptop was the perfect combination of “gorgeous and functional,” according to one of our reviewers. One tester also loved its long battery life and felt that it was more intuitive than other PCs: “Small features, such as facial recognition, worked well without having to fiddle with settings repeatedly,” he explained. In terms of negatives, our reviewers thought it was heavy and reported that it got warm with continued use. One tester also wished it had more than one USB 3.0 port: “It has just enough ports that I wouldn't feel the need to travel with a dock,” he said, “but I found myself wishing I could charge my phone and attach an external USB hard drive.”

Test Results: LG gram 15Z970 15.6” (Best Large Screen)

4.6
What We Like
  • Simple setup

  • Very portable

  • Easy navigation

What We Don't Like
  • Screen too reflective

  • Inconvenient camera placement

LG gram 15Z970 15.6”
LG gram 15Z970
LG gram 15.6”
LG gram
LG gram laptop

“The three most impressive things about this device,” explained one of our reviewers, “are its ease of setup, extremely lightweight design — that’s also quite aesthetically pleasing and in the same vein as Apple products — and the easy-to-navigate desktop and start menu.” One tester also declared that this machine was the most portable laptop she’d ever used. On the other hand, one of our reviewers felt that its screen was so reflective that even a little bit of sun created a glare and that the camera positioning was strange: “It’s at the bottom of the screen rather than the top,” she noted, “which makes for a weird angle when you’re Skyping or video chatting.”